Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Regional Comp Weekend, and Preparing for a Move...

Hi all!
This weekend was very hectic, but mostly fun which is nice. It was one of those weekends where you get to Monday and you think Good Lord, I need a weekend to recover from my weekend! First up was Saturday's Fred Astiare Regional Competition at the Crowne Plaza O'Hare. I was running so late! I didn't arrive until around 11:30am, the Pro/Am portion of the day had begun at 10. (Here's the thing about waking up late, as I get back into working out, that will be much harder to do as I will naturally have more energy!) I immediately found my gang and began the socializing and spectating for the day. I think the reason I love ballroom comps so much is that they remind me of Theatre back in Shakespeare's day (Shakespeare is a personal hero of mine, and an awesome writer). It's a place to see and be seen and cheer for what's being presented on the floor, which is exactly what Theatre was like back in the day.

This competition was much smaller than previous spring regional I had attended, not since I started back in 2006 had I seen a comp as small. I have more than a sneaking suspicion that it's because everyone that usually saves up for one or two competitions every year is waiting for the June Inter-Regional comp which promises to have more than the standard set of competitors we're used to seeing. Somehow competition isn't quite as fun when you're on the floor with everyone you know and have competed against before, or so I have been told by many competitors.

So I saw, and I was seen, and I laughed and joked and cheered my way to the end, with Jem, Savvy, and more. Once the day session ended, a group of friends and I headed over to a local restaurant to have a nice relaxing meal and watch college hoops on the big screen. The team we were rooting for won! It was a nail biter too, I suppose if I went to a college with a sports team I'd be into that full time, but instead I only get involved when it's put in front of me, and I have friends around me that are whole heartily invested.

Once over, the few of us that were going back for the evening show headed back to the hotel with plenty of time to change for the Disco themed evening. Dressing up for these themed events aren't nearly as fun when I don't have the wardrobe I once had to pull from. Every time a theme comes up I mentally sift through the closet I used to have to find what I would have worn. A futile process I assure you. I had worn a T-shirt for the day session that was very 70's themed, but the evenings require more than a t-shirt. So I settled on a sequined tank I had recently picked up, jeans, and a short sleeve cardigan. I touched up my make up and I was ready to go.

The evening event opened with a lot of general dancing, which is great!! It used to be that these events had alot of awards, speakers, hired professional shows, and a smattering of general dances in between. Not this time! This time we were treated to a lot of 70's era music that included a lot of Hustle, Cha Cha and Swing. They even managed to get a few waltz's in there as well. All the pros were decked out in what seemed like a cross between 60's flower child and 70's bad plaid most wearing the traditional Fro wigs. (Some of whom actually really made them work!). I had planted myself amungst Bonnie and Michael for the night, and I was pleased for the company. Shortly after the dancing started, and I decided it might be worth it to change into my jazz shoes, Rocky came by for a pretty fast East Coast swing. About two measures in I realized two things: 1- my shoes were getting way too much traction so I'd have to work harder to execute my steps, and 2- drinking while dancing (I had had beer with dinner and wine since I entered the show) only makes me very heavy in my feet so everything takes that much more of a supreme effort. I MAY just have to consider my competition drinking habits if this continues.

After Rocky, I was asked to dance by one of my Studio's newest pros, he is new to teaching but has a very solid International background. I've danced with him a few times before. The dance he chose me for was Waltz. I heard a very quick American Waltz, he heard a Viennese Waltz so we ended up doing kind of a combo of the two. It was a lot of fun despite the poor floor craft of all those around us. Fill a floor with amateur and that's pretty much what you get. I do find this new pro to be a pretty good lead, and he's very cute in the way he approaches things. I thanked him for the dance and then took my place next to Bonnie for a second.

A few awards were announced and due to the small size of this comp and the rather small turn out from my studio in particular (again, waiting for June!) Fred Astaire Mokena took top prize as did two of their pro's for top teachers. Congratulations Mokena, I know the competitive students and staff at Chicago North thrive on a challenge so let's see who gets top prize next time around!

General dancing resumed and none other than Himself -Jesse DeSoto tapped me on the shoulder for a Hustle. Jesse is one of those pros that can make his follow feel like they can dance with him effortlessly. His brother STP actually can do the same thing, when he wants to, and speaking of it wasn't but a minute after Jesse had lead me to the edge of the dance floor when STP picked me up to catch the very tail end of another song. This was turning into quite the red letter evening for me!

A beat after that and I sought out one of the more shy or reserved would be a better word, students for another Hustle. Not quite sure why he's so reserved, he's actually not a bad lead the couple of times I've danced with him. I figured I was having a good night so it was ok to go around asking for dances. I came back to the table where my stuff was stashed and sat a few dances out, all the while watching the gentleman next to me, who is normally so quiet, come completely out of his shell with the help of some liquid encouragement. That was more funny than anything. His behavior combined with his thematic dress reminded me of Steve Martin in the 70's stand up he used to do..."I'm a wild and cra-zy guy!"

Ah, Steve Martin in the 70's... funniest guy of the decade!

As I was bearing witness to the character next to me another fellow student asked me for a Cha Cha and off we went. Woo hoo! I think this is the most I've danced at a social event in a really long time!

Very shortly after my Cha Cha I took my seat and I saw STP passing by in his regular dance clothes, he was previously dressed ala John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. I stopped him, "You're not all Saturday Night Fever anymore?"

"No, I have to dance..." He replies as if talking to a child.

I immediately remember that not all the correct words came out in my question. Duh.. of course he had to dance he was wearing a Latin shirt... what I meant was "Why are you dressed like that if you have to do the region staff number in a few minutes?" But that of course isn't what came out. So I laughed to myself pretty much hysterically because I have a knack of always sounding like I've had one drink too many with STP something that started because I did say funny stuff to him once when I actually had consumed 2 or 3 drinks too many in 2008.... I'll never live it down. Ah well there are worse things.. at least I'm a happy fake boozer.

The show began with the afore mentioned Regional staff number. The first time the whole region's staff had gotten together to do a number. We actually got to see it twice! About 4 or so measures in, the music just stopped... there was a beat or two of silence and then the staff almost in unison just picked right up where they left off and performed the piece A Capella, which actually worked out really well. Once finished and applause with ovation ensued they began again with music the whole way through. It was very cute and I liked how quickly they recovered! What professionals! KIT and DWH had actually choreographed it.

The rest of the show was nice too, albeit had a very "Talent Show" quality to it. Different couples or studio staff formations took the floor. It was nice for me to see because I usually like to keep an eye on what's going on staff wise in the region, just a little habit I picked up from when I used to visit multiple studios for parties and such. This allowed me to see a good number of the new faces perform and see their style. There are a few new staff members out there that look like they'd be a lot of fun to dance with. Two of the newer male pros in particular just danced like they take really good care of their followers, and danced very well.

The show ended as most do when the region staff performs with the staff at my studio showing off their skills FAF and TSD with a super fast Tango, HFC and STP with a swing, and then the whole Staff put in an ensemble formation with KIT singing, the girl has a powerful set of pipes!

I closed the evening saying goodnight to everyone I could find, and chatted with HFC for a second and then made my exit.

The rest of the weekend was VERY busy. I had a lot of work to do for my personal and professional lives. Professionally we're gearing up for a new product release and personally I am moving back into my apartment on Friday! I can not WAIT to have a home again! What's striking me as amazing though is that it doesn't seem to matter how much or how little one owns... moving is ALWAYS a hassle.

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